Our return date will be depending on the cost of airline ticket.

  • Probably not what you want. Maybe use this if you know that your return date will depend on the cost in the future, but you haven't chosen a tentative return date yet.

Our return date will depend on the cost of airline ticket.

  • This is probably what you want. This implies the return date is in the future, and not yet certain.

Can somebody explain the difference between these two, I don't see any differences both are in the future and will depend on the cost of airline tickets may be will be depending is less sure


3 Answers 3


Our return date will be depending on the cost of airline ticket.

As already mentioned, really doesn't work with a continuous form. It simply feels wrong.
Also, missing an article - definite 'the' or 'our' etc, or at worst indefinite 'an'

Our return date will depend on the cost of the airline ticket.

Sounds fine as a colloquial statement, [with added article]

Our return date will be dependant on the cost of the airline ticket.

Would be the way I would phrase it for a more formal situation

  • 1
    +1 for a good answer. However I would have gone further and said that the first alternative was ungrammatical. It is certainly not idiomatic, except perhaps in India - where the continuous form is used more extensively than is the case in Britain or America.
    – WS2
    Jun 11, 2018 at 18:06
  • ty. I tend to avoid trying to provide authoritative grammatical answers, as my own knowledge of the 'actual rules' is limited. I fly by the seat of my pants, as a well-read native, rather than one who knows the technical structure by rote ;) i also feel a little 'racist' or at least 'dialect-ist' if I refer to things like this as "Indianisms" though that does ring true to me. It feels a bit ...stereotyping. [refs to It Ain't Half Hot Mum... 70's humour] Jun 11, 2018 at 18:13

Many verbs are not usually used in the continuous form in English. Depend is one of these verbs, along with other verbs that are about a state or condition:

other states: be, belong, concern, depend, involve, matter, need, owe, own, possess

These verbs are also called: stative verbs or non-continuous verbs. They express a state or condition: He is funny. They are poor. We need work.

Here is a list of common ones by type:

common verbs not used in continuous form

For example:

  • This depends on you.
  • This involves a lot of work.
  • My opinion does not matter.
  • They are rich. [never: they are being rich]

There are almost no circumstances in which a native speaker would use the continuous form as per OP's first version. Consider these results from Google Books...

will be depending on the cost of - no hits (or 1, depending on how you look at things)
will depend on the cost of - about 354,000 results

As a general principle, if there are two "syntactically valid" verb forms that could be used in any given context, but only one is idiomatically well-established, native speakers tend to assume that if someone does use the "unusual" alternative, it must be because they intend something subtly different to the "default" interpretation.

That unusual phrasing = unusual meaning principle is why OP's source has suggested the possibility that the continuous form might imply that the return date hasn't yet been set. But to my mind that's just being ridiculously "creative" - the only reasonable reaction is to assume either the speaker doesn't know English at all well, or he's an "Indian English" speaker (IE speakers often "overuse" continuous forms, from the perspective of mainstream Anglophones).


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